Southeastern PA

Richland Township supervisor turns up heat on water authority

RICHLAND TWP., Pa. - A Richland Township Supervisor Monday night resumed his efforts to draw attention to what he describes as uncontrolled spending at the township’s water authority.

His motion to advance his arguments fell short.

Starting out by showing a classic Ma and Pa Kettle video clip about fuzzy math, Supervisor Rick Orloff gave a presentation outlining his claims that the water authority and its executive director Timothy Arnold -- who is also on the board of supervisors -- are over-spending.

One slide showed the executive director’s salary at more than $120,000, higher than that of the chief of police and the township manager. Orloff said the number of service calls handled by the authority is low and does not justify that kind of compensation.

“There’s just not a lot of work there,” he said.

Arnold, who has tangled with Orloff during past meetings over the water authority’s operations, did not attend Monday night’s meeting.

Orloff said that the township could save $200,000 a year by consolidating and outsourcing the water authority’s services. He said the Richland Township Water Authority is a much smaller operation compared to water authorities in neighboring municipalities, yet it has spending  “in excess of $1 million” to fund labor costs, two solicitors and board member stipends.

If the authority’s services were contracted, Orloff said its customers would save $70 a month on their water bills. According to the Richland Township website, the authority serves customers in 20 housing developments

At the end of his presentation, Orloff made a motion asking township manager Paul Stepanoff to seek requests by April 1 for proposals from companies that would provide similar services. Orloff voted in favor of his motion, but Supervisor Chairman Timothy Ritter dissented, suggesting that Orloff give the presentation to the authority.

“You can’t think of the authority as a department of the township,” Ritter said.

Orloff dismissed Ritter’s suggestion.

“It won’t go anywhere,” he said, adding that the authority was already “lawyering up” to fight his quest to outsource its services.

Solicitor B. Lincoln Treadwell also questioned the logic of Orloff’s request, saying it was essentially seeking a hypothetical request for proposal [RFP] because it would solicit proposals for contracts that could never be awarded.

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